Cabinet-maker and bronze caster
Rare set of urns and pedestals
Signed BY on the back of the bronze mounts
Urns – Height : 76 cm (30 in.) ; Width : 62 cm (24 1/2 in.)
Pedestals – Height : 115 cm (45 1/3 in.) ; Base : 53 x 53 cm (20 3/4 x 20 3/4 in.)
Exceptional pair of gilded bronze and gadrooned very rare « African Brèche » marble covered vases. Beautifully decorated with acanthus leaves, scrolls and lion masks motifs. Magnificent pedestals decorated on three sides with exceptional « Sicily Jasper » plaques framed with water leaves motifs. Gilt-bronze mounts figuring lion masks, scrolls, garlands, acanthus leaves and laurel crowns. Alfred-Emmanuel Beurdeley took inspiration for his vases from the famous model, made in antique porphyry, mounted with gilt bronzes in the eighteenth century and now part of the collections of the Louvre Museum.
Considering the quality of the bronze chiseling, of the mercury gilding as well as the rarety of the marbles such the « African Brèche » and « Sicily Jasper », these presented pieces can be considered as one of the most prestigious works produced by A.-E. Beurdeley. A similar pair of vases, made in gilded bronze mounted porphyry, was made by Alfred-Emmanuel Beurdeley for the Great Hall of The Breakers, Newport (USA), the luxurious estate of Cornelius II Vanderbilt.
In 1875, Alfred-Emmanuel Beurdeley (1847-1919) was at first assistant to and later succeeded his father Louis-Auguste Beurdeley, one of the main cabinet-makers of the Second Empire, specialising in XVIIIth century furniture. Louis-Auguste was the star whenever he exhibited and was “most favored by the royal and imperial families”. Although he produced the same kind of works of art as his father, Alfred Beurdeley was also a very well-known art collector and a skilled bronze sculptor. With Dasson, Grohé, Sauvresy and Fourdinois, the most famous artists of the period, he took part in the 1878 Universal Exhibition and won the gold medal. Crowned with glory he went so far as to open a shop in New York. His participation in the 1883 Amsterdam Universal Exhibition drew considerable attention to his work and “Alfred Beurdeley, Fabricant de bronzes d’art” was then awarded the Ordre National de la Legion d’Honneur, France’s hightest official mark of recognition. He thus won the respect of both the government and contemporary art critics. His last presentation was during the 1889 Universal and International Exhibition, when the director of the Exhibition wrote in his report : “The talent of Mr Beurdeley is self evident when one inspects his furniture.”
L’univers des bronzes, Yves Devaux, Ed. Pygmalion, Paris, 1978, p°261.
« La saga Beurdeley (1814-1919) », Bernard Dorival, B.S.H.A.F., 1989, p°191.
L’ameublement d’art français, 1850-1900, Camille Mestdagh, Les Ed. de l’Amateur, Paris, 2010, p°130.